The woman standing in front of him isn't really a woman. Or at least John has a hard enough time thinking of her as one. Her smell gives it all away. The honey and hunter smell that they all have. She's an alpha, and when she smiles, it's with too many teeth; her canines look too sharp. "Open your mouth," she commands.
"Rather not." John is in a bad mood. It would just figure that an alpha female would seize upon him. He'd always hoped for a male—young ideally. Not some old, stinky bitch. John pouts the most insolent moue he can muster.
"Oh, oh, oh." She clucks, and then she laughs.
Unexpected. "I'm not an animal," John snarls.
"I love the eyes, so demure, coquettish even, and yet the words..." She clucks again, and when he doesn’t comply, she grabs his jaw. "I said, open."
Her voice hits him in the gut, and before he realizes what's happening, his jaw is putty, and she's got her index finger pressed against his back molars, all the way back to where his wisdom teeth should be, except he doesn't have any. "Rounded, like little pearls. No cavities. They've given you the proper calcium levels then. I'm glad they didn't lie at the office. I don't tolerate liars, especially when it comes to mistreatment of omegas. Betas don't get how precious you are, do they? Now, be a good boy and bite down for me."
John chomps down on her finger.
It lasts for a second before his cheek is stinging. She's slapped him. "Good." She's nodding. "He'll like you. And I read your chart. Apparently, you're smart, assisting the camp doctors when you have spare time. I interviewed Dr Stamford before meeting you. He said you've absorbed his training like a sponge. You have 'surgeon's hands.' You're a 'natural in the clinic with the pregnant omegas.' So many compliments. Indubitably, Dr Stamford is attracted to you, and why wouldn't he be? He's an alpha with a thrice-bred omega. During heats, I'm sure she holds his attention, but out of cycle, why, now aren't you the tastier treat?"
"Michael Stamford is my friend." John can't hold the contempt in his voice. Part of his anger comes from the fact, though, that she's right. Mike's hand tends to graze his bum. And too often for John's liking, Mike asks about his heats. You can't be an omega and miss that.
The woman acts like she hasn't heard him. "You've managed to scare off all of your suitors prior to now. That's how you ended up in the camp."
"Astute." The fuck you, idiot is implied.
But she laughs. She only laughs. "Mmmph!" She balls her hands into fists, looking almost radiant with happiness. "You'll be the one. I'm certain."
John hasn't given up the fight yet. "I don't want a female alpha."
Remarkably, she doesn't look offended. She nods, like this is preferable. "You're for my son. Would you like to see a picture?"
John rolls his eyes. She's going to show it to him regardless.
The picture she thrusts at his face is black and white, but there's no mistaking the sharp cheekbones, the messy locks, and the wolf-pale eyes glinting with white halos, as if struck mad by the moon. Whatever John might think of the woman in front of him, her son is bloody fucking gorgeous.
"Oh, that smell tells all." The woman breathes in. "You like him, excellent. His name is Sherlock. I'll have the paperwork put through immediately. Come along."
"Wait—what?" John is still not over the fact that this woman named her son Sherlock, much less that she's crazy enough to think she's waltzing out the door with him.
"We're leaving." She pats his backside.
He swats her hand away. "Stop that. You can't just—there's a waiting period. You'll need to communicate with the breeding camp's director who will communicate with my father, and he'll need to check—"
She smacks his cheek, lightly, but enough to shut him up. "No, we're leaving now, and I'll say this once. Only once, so best not to forget it. I am Lady Holmes. I do not wait."
John can only stare. He's heard of the name, obviously, which means...
"Don't worry, dearest. Once you've born my first grandchild, the same will apply to you."
They leave the breeding camp in the early evening, but they arrive at the manor under the cloak of darkness. John knows it's a manor even though his night vision isn't as good as an alpha’s. Having to walk up thirty marbled steps to reach the front door would give even a moron a clue. Lady Holmes holds his hand, encased in her gloved one, until they are through the double gothic doors and into the marbled foyer.
They're met by a tall, thin-lipped fellow with his arms crossed. The man could not look more impatient. He marches straight up to John, shoulders squared and eyes assessing. "You would be John Watson. I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I'm Mycroft." He holds out his hand, smiling.
John takes it, for once, unalarmed. Mycroft isn't a threat, or at least, not an immediate one. He's a beta.
"My eldest son," Lady Holmes confirms.
"Mother, you found a male omega." Mycroft's voice comes out a little choked, so that John tenses slightly. There's no mistaking the undertone of yearning there.
"You've already read the entirety of the camp's dossiers, so clearly you know that I wasn't expecting to." Lady Holmes runs her hands through John's hair. "But there he was. Still unmated despite being over twenty, and all because he was so strong willed. Perfect for Sherlock, isn't he?"
"Perfect. Hm, I suppose, if Sherlock would know such a thing if it rode his—" Mycroft cuts himself off and stares fixedly at the wall sconce.
For the first time, Lady Holmes notices her son's discomfort. "How are matters with that—" She flutters her hand with distaste. "—alpha you've picked up with?"
"Lestrade has returned to his wife," Mycroft bites out. "I was too busy with work to accommodate him."
"If only you liked women like a normal beta. I would already have had a grandchild." She sighs before turning back to John. "I'll take you upstairs then, dear. Come along."
John is stripped and bathed and given an impromptu haircut. He's expecting more introductions, but then the valet leads him down the hall to a bedroom, where upon John's entering, the door closes with a snick behind him.
John stands, blinking at the door for a minute, before he tries to open it. It's locked.
He turns around and examines the room, only to gulp.
For starters, there is a human skull sitting dead centre on top of the fire place. In the stone hearth below, a vaguely barbecue-esque aroma is emanating. Lining the far wall is a distillation set. An uncorked Erlenmeyer flask is fifty millilitres full with yellow crystals of unknown origin. A violin is disgracefully tossed into an arm chair, and a dressing gown lies like a twisted rug in the centre of the floor. But none of these facts—not even the skull—are why John gulps.
It's the smell.
John breathes it in, and before he knows it, he's at the side of the bed. The sheets are cotton, nothing so skanky as satin, but they're Egyptian cotton. John runs his hands over the cool, soft fabric. He notices a single black hair on the pillow. A curl. He picks it up and twirls it between his fingers. From where he's standing, the scent from the covers is heavenly and John is naked beneath his robe, so he sits down on the sheets and throws a leg over, rolling until he reaches the centre of the massive bed. There, where the smell is the strongest, the melt-your-brain scent, John buries his face and breathes and breathes until he passes out from the stupid ecstasy of it.
When he wakes up, every light in the room is on, and a man, who John is certain is Sherlock Holmes, is prodding him in the side.
"Who are you, and why are you in my bed?" Sherlock demands.
"Who are you, and why are you in my bed?" Sherlock demands.
John doesn't get to answer, because Sherlock’s mouth drops open with an inhalation, and his hands pull on his hair, his chin jerked away with his eyes closed. "An omega."
John is torn between going back to his pleasant dreams and focusing on the source of the pleasant smell, which is even stronger now that its owner is an arm's length from him.
"But you're not in heat, thank God." Sherlock is on his feet, and he's pacing back and forth between the bed and the fireplace. "I should have known. Mummy doesn't go out of town with that kind of smirk on her face unless she's up to some form of devilish meddling."
"I'm John," John says. "And this wasn't exactly my choice, you know. They locked me in here. I didn’t have a crowbar or a battering ram, so it’s not as if I could pop out."
Sherlock rounds on him. “You’re in my bed.”
“Do you see any other places to sleep?” John glowers at the man. Well, he sort of glowers, because the smell hitting his nostrils is making John’s mouth water.
The air goes out of John’s chest. If there’s one little solace in an omega’s pathetic baby-bonnets-and-crazy-sex-slave world, it’s that Alphas are supposed to care for their omegas. Omegas are supposed to be cherished. They’re not supposed to be offered the floor. “I have to put up with being bought and sold like chattel. The least I deserve is a proper mattress.”
Sherlock’s mouth closes with a click of teeth. He glares at John for a long moment before he takes a measured breath. “I apologize. It would be logical that you’d use the bed. I’m only—I’m… unnerved. It’s difficult to unnerve me. I don’t like it.” The man could not sound more petulant.
“Brilliant.” John means it to come out as an insult, but it comes out a little breathless and angry: more like a growl.
Sherlock flinches before turning away again. “So, the facts…” He twists back around to give John another scan. “You’re from a good family, but obviously not in my family’s normal tier, because mother would have long ago pinned you under her magnifying glass. The family connections would have allowed you to put off a betrothal until after eighteen, but you’re what—twenty four?”
“An omega male in one of those dog-and-pony show camps, from a good family—you must have fought them hard. Why? And how did you manage it?” Sherlock looks genuinely intrigued at this point.
Before John can give his usual spiel, that He didn’t want to be anybody’s breeding machine, Sherlock snaps his fingers. “An older sibling, also an omega—bad experience.”
Oh, God, Harry. How the hell could he know about Harry? “You read my file.”
“Don’t be daft,” Sherlock snaps, but he looks pleased. “Your sister is married to an alpha, and it’s a terrible match.”
Harry is married to that prick, Dave. She was supposed to be married to Clara, but father refused. Now Harry spends her days sneaking drugs so as to sabotage her heats. She says it doesn’t matter who’s putting what in her if she can’t spell her own name. She’s had five miscarriages.
“Last name?” Sherlock asks.
Sherlock’s eyes narrow, but he makes no further comment. “Alright, John Watson, Mummy is clearly set on your staying here; ergo she won’t budge. Not now. But know this, I don’t want an omega. It’s not about you. I have never wanted one. Base instincts I might have, but they are not my priority.”
John listens to this speech, not knowing whether to be insulted or relieved. “So we won’t be fucking?”
“Alright, well…” John processes this. He doubts Sherlock’s mother will let it go on for long, but as long as they can get away with it, John is game. “That’d be great, actually.”
Sherlock tilts his head to the side, and if John doesn’t know better, he’d say Sherlock looked surprised. “John Watson, you might do.”
John can’t really go back to sleep after that. Sherlock, meanwhile, has flopped down onto the chaise in the sitting area and appears to be expressly intent on texting most of the planet. When John looks at the clock, it reads 5:45 am. He normally gets up at 6:30. At the breeding camp they were avid that the omegas should "wake with the sun," so as to maximize health. With all the adrenaline in his system, there’s no way John’s going back to sleep. He stretches and slides out of the bed.
Sherlock looks up. “What are you doing?”
“Do I have clothes?” John asks, tucking his robe around himself.
Sherlock turns his head back to his phone. “Probably. Go ask Molly.”
“One moment.” Sherlock send another text.
Not thirty seconds later, there’s a knock on the door, and it opens by a hair. A small yet high voice calls through, “Sherlock, are you dressed?”
“I am, but John’s not. He needs clothes.”
The door opens, and John watches as a mousy woman skitters into the room. She could not look more nervous. With flushed cheeks, she smiles at Sherlock. Sherlock doesn’t notice.
John clears his throat.
“Oh, you’re John.” She walks up to him, ducking and smiling like a babysitter approaching her night’s charges. When Molly is close, her hand flies to her mouth. “You do smell nice.”
“Kind of you to say.” John forces himself to be polite.
Molly laughs nervously. “You are our first omega since Lord Holmes passed. I wasn’t here back then.” She seems to remember herself. “You’re to come with me. Lady Holmes wants to see you, and then I’m to take you straight down to breakfast. The tailor will be here for your fitting at 7.”
John can’t help it. The idea of seeing more of Lady Holmes and suffering through a fitting makes him cringe. “I’d really just like a jumper and trousers. Nothing special.”
Inexplicably, Sherlock appears at John’s side. “You heard him. It’s his first day. Tell Mummy I said to bugger off. Bring up tea and a breakfast tray for him. The tailor can come up here if she wants to measure him.” He frowns at John. “You should get proper clothes, though.”
Molly is frowning. “But Lady Holmes said—“
“Wrong. I said John is staying here.”
John isn’t ready for it when Sherlock’s arm wraps around his waist, and his thumb presses hard into his hip bone.
“Sherlock,” John warns, because wasn’t their entire conversation ten minutes ago about how this wasn’t going to happen?
Sherlock runs his nose down the length of John’s neck. He’s scenting John. “He’s mine. Not hers. Go.”
Molly’s mouth works for a moment until she spins on her heel. John thinks she might be fanning herself as she lets the door bang shut behind her.
The minute she’s gone, Sherlock releases him and marches away. “It’ll work better if I seem interested. Mummy will still figure it out, but not until after your first heat.” Sherlock pauses. “When are you due?”
John can’t look him in the eyes: he’s still too rattled from Sherlock’s being so close to him. “Two months three weeks.”
It isn’t much time. Not really.
The tailor who arrives is, to John’s delight, a retired omega. He likes her instantly.
“I’m Mrs Hudson,” she announces with a warm smile. She has a cloth measuring tape looped around her neck like a scarf, and she rests a bony hand on her cocked hip as she gives John a studious up and down assessment. “Well, we’ll focus on your best features, darling. For your colours, we’ll complement the grey of your eyes and some paler shades to accent that angelic gold hair you have. As for the cut, we’ll make your young man unable to rip his eyes from your bum, because dear, we omegas, we always got decent bums, now, don’t we?”
John suspects his ears have gone flaming red. “I’m not worried about my features. I’d just like some regular clothes.”
Mrs Hudson comes forward and draws the tape around his neck. “You haven’t popped out any little ones yet, but trust me. These are your best days. Those abs—” She pats John’s stomach with a wicked grin. “—are going to go soft once the first set of twins hits. You can fight it until you drop, but Mother Nature always wins.”
“You can’t know that I’ll—"
Mrs Hudson shakes her head, before leaning into whisper. “Come on then, dearie. We omegas, we know. You can smell it, just like I can. I’m sure that Sherlock’s got a knot on him that could fill up a few swimming pools, much less put a few babes in you.”
John feels faint. “Mrs Hudson.”
“Oh, there now. Hold steady.” She pats his back. “I’m almost done.”
Sherlock is on the chaise again, stretched back like the endless curl of a parenthesis. He pushes up on his elbow. “Stop harassing John.”
“I like him,” Mrs Hudson says, as if this explains away everything.
“Naturally you like him. He’s a fellow omega.”
Mrs Hudson loops the tape around John’s wrist. “You like him, too. Now out with you. I need to take the last set of measurements and I won't have you interfering.”
Sherlock’s face is hilariously aghast. “I can handle some nudity.”
Mrs Hudson picks up a rather dangerous-looking needle out of her kit and glares at Sherlock. “Young man, I won’t repeat myself.”
In a sulk, Sherlock trudges from the room.
Mrs Hudson turns to John. “Don’t worry. You’ll learn it, too. Alphas love being told what to do, no matter that they pretend otherwise. Now, let’s talk pants.” She reaches into her bag and pulls out what seems to be a large selection of men’s underwear. The first one she holds up is tangerine and…
“It’s missing the backside.” John’s voice cracks on the last word.
“I know.” Mrs Hudson winks at him.
When John is finally dressed (in the most modest set of briefs that Mrs Hudson would allow, which isn’t saying much), Mycroft Holmes arrives to take John on a tour of the house.
“I apologize for my brother,” Mycroft says. “He’s left the premises. I don’t know when he’ll be back, but don’t worry, Mummy will bring him back sooner than later. She always does.”
“May I ask why he’s left?” John can’t help but wonder if it’s because of him.
“A case. My brother dabbles in investigative work. He helps the Yard now and again.”
John wants to ask more, but there’s a note of annoyance in Mycroft’s voice when he talks about Sherlock. “And what about you? What do you do?”
Mycroft smiles at him. “Oh, me? A minor government official nothing more.”
As if a Holmes would be a minor official. John can read right through Mycroft’s smile, and what’s more, he’s sure that Mycroft intends him to.
He’s shown the library where Mycroft points out the medical books to him. John appreciates the gesture, but he also can’t help but feel a pang of loss as he fingers the spines of the books. Eventually he might be able to pursue a career, but not for several more years. Not until after he’s had children—plural—and raised them out of the nursery. Then again, with Sherlock as his alpha, maybe he will have the time...
It’s a small hope, but enough of one that John tucks a few titles under his arm.
Mycroft then shows John the pool, the gardens, the stables, and last but not least, it’s back to the dining room, where Lady Holmes awaits them.
Lady Holmes greets John with a pleased sort of smile. It’s not nice. Nothing about the woman is nice, but she looks… dare he say, proud of him. John doesn’t like it, but he also can’t help the way he sits up straighter when she looks at him.
They’ve gone through the usual pleasantries—How do you like the house? What book do you have there? Mrs Hudson is a dear, isn’t she?—when Sherlock strides into the room.
“Darling.” Lady Holmes has a piece of chicken speared on her fork, and as she smiles, she could not look more like a cat with a prize. “Back already?”
Sherlock ignores her, instead turning to John. “Your file.”
John forces himself to keep chewing. Sherlock looking at him that way risks choking.
“It says you did medical work.” Sherlock’s eyes seize on the book in John’s hand.
“Not exactly—I only helped in the clinic when—”
“You worked with omegas. You know all about their reproductive cycles and medical needs. Am I not correct?”
John swallows. The bite is too large, but he doesn’t choke.
Mycroft at the far end of the table sets down his glass with a clink. “Don’t even think about it, Sherlock.”
Lady Holmes, like John, looks confused. “What are you two on about?”
Sherlock walks over to John’s hand and flips over the book so that he can read the title. “Another omega has been killed. The killer is skilled. Not many clues.”
“Not even for you?” Mycroft could not sound more disparaging.
“No,” Sherlock snaps. “Because I’m missing information. I don’t know enough about omegas. This stupid reproductive divide! They don’t exactly let me near enough to examine them often, do they? So, alright, John? You can bring your plate with you.”
“No.” Mycroft stands, glaring at his mother.
“Take your plate,” Lady Holmes says. She, unlike her elder son, could not look more pleased.
“Off then.” Sherlock grabs John’s arm and leads him to the door.
Warnings: This is where the "Explicit" rating starts. Also, violent depiction of a crime-scene corpse.
Sherlock pulls John into a black Bentley, instructing the driver to head to Upper Clapton. Ten minutes pass by in which Sherlock ignores John for his phone, but John doesn’t mind. He hasn’t been out in ages. The chaperoned tours that the camp would send them on were a grand joke, and even if he’s confined to a car, passing through London with its crowded streets and ever-changing storefronts is its own sort of delight. He’s missed this.
They’re driving along Springfield Park when Sherlock says, “I read your file. It wasn’t only that your sister influenced you—you were taking pills. She started giving them to you when you were thirteen. They didn’t find out about you until you tried to enlist.”
“My bribe wasn’t good enough for the medical examiner,” John answers dully. He still remembers the woman’s face when she had him bend over and well, saw.
“How much did you bribe?”
“I’d saved up a grand.” It’d taken all of his childhood savings. It’s not like he could have asked his dad for money. The bastard had been overjoyed when his son was an omega. He got to keep the dowry after all.
Sherlock nods. “The reward for turning you in was eight hundred pounds. The extra two hundred wouldn’t have been worth her job if she’d been caught.”
“Hindsight is 20/20,” John mutters.
“Why the army?” Sherlock’s voice betrays far too much interest.
John shrugs. “The usual reasons. Queen and country and a simple desire to see a different part of the world. Also, I fancy blokes. Seemed like there’d be a lot of them.”
Sherlock snorts. “All alphas. How did you think you wouldn’t get caught? If you let any of them close enough to take a whiff, they would have known instantly.”
John is used to being underestimated due to his gender, but it amuses him that Sherlock is falling prey to the usual sense of superiority that alphas have toward omegas. John had been with two alphas while he was on the hormone suppressants. No penetration, just some sloppy head in dark corners, but with the alcohol and John’s stringent hygiene routine, neither alpha had noticed his omega scent. Not that he’ll tell Sherlock this, although part of him wouldn’t mind watching Sherlock’s reaction. “I had my pills, and besides, living your life in fear isn’t really living, is it?”
Sherlock eyes him askance. But he says no more.
At the crime scene, the body is upsetting. There are human bites on the upper arms, deep gouges that drew blood. The face, when John puts his cheek on the floor to look, is not a pretty one. The nose is too wide. A gooseneck, no real chin. She was without a doubt an omega though, and it was for that reason she was raped and killed.
“Sherlock,” a man’s voice says, “you didn’t tell me you were here—and who’s that?” John turns around to see a silver-haired man with a police ID walking towards them.
Sherlock is bent over John’s shoulder, but he straightens and with an eye roll, does introductions. “This is John. He’s my omega expert. John, this is DI Lestrade. He just dumped my brother for his wife.”
“You don’t just—” Lestrade starts to complain.
“What?” Sherlock looks genuinely confused.
“—announce affairs publicly.” Lestrade is eyeing all officers in range, all of whom are pretending not to have heard. They all did, but none look surprised either. “Nice to meet you, John, by the way.” Lestrade steps closer only to halt with nostrils flared. “What the bloody hell? He’s an omega. Sherlock, you can’t just bring an omega out to a crime scene. It’s not safe!”
“Yes, an omega, and therefore more of an expert on omegas than you or me.” Sherlock points at John. “Keep going.” Specifically, Sherlock is pointing between the woman’s legs.
John lifts the skirt and sees more or less what he expects. A lot of dried blood. Torn skin. Bruising. As acid rises in his throat, he tells himself that the births he’s assisted with were no better. In the births, there was often tearing. Babies’ heads aren’t always small. John had helped stitch up a more than a few fellow omegas. Of course, in some ways that’d been far worse, because the smell—
Wait—why wasn’t there a smell now?
“You’re frowning. What?” Sherlock demands.
“She doesn’t smell.” John sniffs again to be sure.
“She’s dead,” Lestrade points out.
“No.” John shakes his head. “The z-gland, all omegas have an enlarged one, during birth or mating or any traumatic experience, it releases. Trust me, as an alpha, you’d smell it. But there’s no scent of it on her. Absolutely none. I’m not going to stick my finger up there, but check for it in your autopsy.”
When John looks back, Sherlock’s eyes are closed. He’s muttering under his breath, and John can hear what he supposes is a long string of hypotheses and corroborating evidence being sorted and filed.
John’s just stood up, when Sherlock’s eyes pop open. “Drug ring. Selling the hormones, possibly using them for synthesis or testing—a single gland’s worth wouldn’t be the price of a dead omega.” Sherlock pauses. “Although, she’s not a beauty contest winner, is she?” He looks at Lestrade. “Check the rosters at the breeding camps. See if she’s been reported missing—no, too easy. She’ll have been bought. The name will be faked, but it might give you some clues. Start in south London camps. The closer to the river the better.”
“How do you know that?” John asks.
Sherlock speaks even faster than before. “Her clothes, for starters. They’re cheap polyester. Most of the nicer camps are either far outside of the city or north. It’s unlikely she would have been come from a camp far out of the city, especially with shoes with that particular soil combination…”
Sherlock talks on, and the way his eyes flash back and forth—
“That’s brilliant,” John says. It comes out a little breathless, a little embarrassing.
Sherlock cuts off mid-sentence.
“Haven’t they already researched the z-hormones to death?” Lestrade is frowning.
John nods. “They have done research on the hormones, but…” He can’t imagine any hospital being granted the right to cut out a live, functioning z-gland. “For the gland, post-mortem, sure. But given how quickly they disintegrate due to enzymes, and how valued omegas are—”
“John!” Sherlock grabs his shoulders, pulling him up with a smile on his face. “You’re very, very, very good. Now, we’re going home.” He loops his arm through John’s and pulls him forward.
“Hey, hold on,” Lestrade calls. “I need some more to go on.”
“It’s not petty butchery—it’s corporate!” Sherlock calls, and then the car door is thrown open, and John is a little annoyed when Sherlock more or less pushes him inside.
As soon as they’re in, Sherlock pushes on the button that puts up the divider between the driver and the back of the cabin. And then, without warning, he yanks at John’s trousers.
John, by pure reflex, smacks his hands away. “What are you doing?”
“Trying to get your trousers off.”
“I caught that—why?”
Sherlock pauses. “The case. I need data. You have it. I need to smell your gland, and see it, too, if I can.” He says this like it’s the most obvious fact in the whole world.
It takes John a stone-laden second to process and react, but then he fights. “No. No. No. And no!” John slams against Sherlock so that he’s crushing his hands into the seat cushion. “That’s moronic.”
Sherlock’s eyelashes flutter irritably. He’s gritting his teeth. “I’m your alpha. If I want to see, I see.”
Right as Sherlock’s about to throw him off, John rushes out, “I’m not saying I won’t let you.”
Sherlock stills. “Then what are you saying?”
“Not here. Let’s go back to your room, where it’s safe. I don’t want your whole car smelling like, well, hormones.”
Sherlock could not look more cross. “I don’t think you understand the urgency. There is a murderer on the loose.”
Just when John thinks Sherlock has given in, the bastard gets a hold of John’s zip.
“Sher—” But John’s protest is cut off when Sherlock bites down on his neck.
The bite hurts. Oh, fuck, it hurts. Stupid alphas and their stupid sharp canines and their even stupider smell. His own face is buried in Sherlock’s hair, and fuck him—fuck him, Sherlock smells like sex. Sex and danger and tingling skin and wet pleasure pounding on the inside. John feels a gentle stroking, and he realizes that Sherlock is lapping at John’s pricked his skin. He’s lapping at the tiny droplets of blood. Sherlock’s an idiot. Doesn’t he know what he’s—? But oh, the sensation is both wet and soft. Soothing even as it stings. John cranes his neck up so Sherlock can have more. John wants him to bite harder.
“Good, John. Very good.” Sherlock has drawn back, and he’s open mouthed and staring into John’s eyes. The man has such gorgeous green eyes, yellow suns eclipsed by black pupils and the rest blue ocean. Gorgeous. “Now lift your hips for me.”
John arches his hips, and Sherlock grabs at his pockets so that his trousers slide down. This is, of course, when Sherlock sees the tight white pair that Mrs Hudson let him have. John’s erection is apparent.
A sound erupts in Sherlock’s throat. He rips his gaze away from John, before commanding him, “Turn over.”
It’s a little awkward even with the over-sized cabin, but then John’s arse is in the air, and Sherlock’s pulled down his pants so that he’s exposed, and John can feel how wet he is—not like he is when he’s in heat—but his alpha bit him, the fucking idiot, and now the hormones fog the air.
Behind him, he hears noises, like hisses. Sherlock is cursing. When John strains to look, Sherlock is trembling, and his breathing is heavy as he licks his lips and stares down at John’s arse hole. He just sits there staring for a long minute, until his whole face clenches and he demands. “Where’s the gland?”
“This is a bad idea, Sherlock.” Yet he’s pretty sure Sherlock doesn’t know how bad.
“Tell me.” Alpha voice.
John whimpers and has to force himself to breathe. “Stick your finger in and curl. It’s along the back wall.”
Sherlock jams a finger in.
“Fuck!” John grits.
“What?” Sherlock sounds deranged.
“Gentler." John's head is unfortunately clearer. "It’s a gland, not a gasket.”
Sherlock, to his credit, follows John’s direction. His index finger pushes in more slowly and when it reaches the wall, it doesn’t poke again but nudges, feeling out the edges of the gland. “There?”
“A little higher,” John flutters.
“I see.” Sherlock’s voice is a rasp. “It runs from here to here.” His long finger strokes up and down.
John nearly collapses.
“Stay still.” Sherlock’s voice sounds so good. “I need to get an accurate impression. His finger moves up and down again.
John can’t see. He’s a bit blind, or maybe his eyes are watering. He so dizzy, it’s like he’s sea sick, except that he wants the boat to keep rocking and rocking. His hips roll, and Sherlock keeps stroking.
“You’re leaking out so much. Is that unusual?” Sherlock asks. His voice is deep, controlling, but it isn’t steady. John can hear the ferocious edge to it. He wants to know if anyone’s ever done this to John before.
“I—I—” John catches his breath. “I don’t know. No one’s ever—not like this.” Sherlock presses even harder, and John cuts off with a groan.
“By eyeballing it, I think you might have filled a ten millilitre graduated cylinder. Maybe more.”
He’s measuring. The beautiful, sick fuck. “I can’t help it.”
“I know.” Sherlock doesn’t stop though. “And you’re not in heat.”
“You’d know it if I was in heat.”
“You smell amazing.” John can hear Sherlock’s inhale.
His own answering reply sounds drugged. “I’m an omega.”
“And how do you taste?” Sherlock whispers.
John knows it’s going to happen, but there’s no way to prepare himself when Sherlock withdraws his finger from John, and he can't see, but there's a soft sucking sound followed by silence, and then a loud "Fuck” along with a heavy masculine groan of pleasure.
The finger might be gone, but it’s Sherlock's tongue that replaces it. It drives into John, pushing and sucking. Hands grab his arse forcing him forward so that his face is mashed with sweat and leather into the cushions. He can’t breathe, but he doesn’t care, because the throbbing in his middle causes his hips to clench, and he jerks his mouth free, saying, “I’m going to come. I’m going to—”
“Come,” Sherlock commands, and he bites down—hard—on John’s ass.
John comes in one long hoarse scream, hands tangled in the seat belt.
After that, the only sound in the car is their hoarse breathing.
That is, until the intercom crackles.
An embarrassed-sounding driver says, “Mr. Holmes, we’ve arrived.”
Sherlock, more or less, flees.
After arranging himself as best as he can under the circumstances, John makes a bee line for the shower and tries to ignore the lingering looks from the servants and even the family’s hound, Bernard (who makes lechereous attempts on John's ankles). Just before he closes the door to Sherlock's room, he thinks he hears a feminine cackle. He peers to look down the hall, but Lady Holmes is nowhere in sight.
Once out of the shower, John comes out to find Sherlock bent over his laptop. He's googled pictures of z-glands and seems to be filling in a spreadsheet with his observations. It's no small relief. John doesn't know what he would have done if Sherlock insisted on putting a camera probe up him.
That he would have let him is unfortunately not in question at this point.
"Male omegas have larger z-glands than females," Sherlock states. He's taken his jacket off, and the sleeves on his collared shirt are rolled up. For a normal man, John would just assume he was winding down after a long day at the office, but on Sherlock's straight, elegant figure—the relaxed dress seems more like a confession.
John wonders if Sherlock went and wanked after.
"Is that a question?" John asks. When Sherlock doesn't so much as spare him a glance, John goes over to the end table and shuffles through the stack of his medical books. He ignores the one with the best pictures for the book with the most ridiculous number of charts, thumbing through the index before placing it next to Sherlock.
Sherlock picks it up and starts to read.
Two hours later, when dinner is called, Sherlock says, "Go," but doesn't otherwise look up from the book.
Lady Holmes is lying in wait with a cocktail. She thrusts it at John, the grapefruit wheel brushing his lip, and simultaneously the woman pulls back his collar. She's looking at the afternoon's bite.
For a moment, she's quiet, even studious, but then a wolfish smile breaks on her face. "Never before?
She's asking whether he's been bitten before, whether he's begun the bond process with anyone else. "No."
A clap sounds as she does a full spin, overjoyed. "Let's not tell him, shall we?"
John can't help but frown at her. He doesn't want her as his enemy, but he is not going to lie to Sherlock for her sake. "He hasn't asked, but he's currently reading a book on omega physiology."
Lady Holmes shrugs. "He'll read the components related to the case. Ignore the rest. Whatever we've tried to teach him in the past, he always either refused to listen or declared he was 'deleting' it." She sighs into her gloved hand, before beaming at John. "I never imagined ignorance would be so useful."
John takes a sip from his drink.
"That's right, drink up. In a few weeks, you'll be off the spirits." She clinks her glass against his.
John is toying between sarcasm and downing the whole drink in a single gulp, when Mycroft and a young man—no, woman—come into the room. The woman’s hair is short, but kept out of her face with neat clips. Her navy and white uniform is very English school boy, except on her trim figure it manages to look even naughtier. Her eyes are huge and innocent. Not an omega though—a beta.
"Anthea, darling, don't you look adorable. We've missed you," Lady Holmes croons, picking up both of Anthea's hands and leaning in to kiss her once on each cheek.
Anthea nods seriously like she's just been given a message in code. She moves to take her spot at the table with the rest of them following to join her.
Mycroft has been avoiding looking in John's direction, but as they sit down, he asks John, "Are you all right?
Embarrassed, but that's not what Mycroft was asking. "Fine."
Mycroft leans over to brush a bit of dust off of John's sleeve. "If that changes, do not hesitate to let me know. Sherlock doesn't have a sense of boundaries."
What alpha does? John would like to know, but for the moment, he smiles in thanks at Mycroft.
The offer is well meant.
They are mid-soup course when Sherlock charges into the room. His eyes are severe and wild, and he's pinching the spine of the book like it is poisoned. "You—!" He shakes his fist at John. "You!"
John rolls his eyes. "Yes, clearly this is my fault."
"How long?" Sherlock demands.
John actually doesn't know for certain. When he was in the camps, he’d just heard accounts. "What does the book say?"
Lady Holmes answers for him. "After the bonding bite, the body begins preparing itself immediately. A week—two—at most." She could not be more pleased.
John turns to Sherlock. "I did say it was a bad idea."
Sherlock stalks from the room.
John is dreaming. He's at the breakfast table. There's cinnamon and sugar in shaker, and the bread smells warm and toasty. When the mix of brown powder and clear crystals hits the melted butter, John can only grab for it, anticipating the sticky crunch–
"Wake up!" The voice is deep and annoyed.
Not toast then. Sherlock.
"There's been another murder," Sherlock says.
John forces his eyes open and pushes up in the bed. "I thought we were going to keep our distance. You know, until you read enough to I don't know, stop fucking with my heats."
Sherlock doesn't as much as blink. "I admit I was unaware of the full set of interactions between omega pheromones and the alpha hypothalamus, much less the effects of the epidermal histamine response and my saliva. I have since taken steps to rectify my lack of knowledge. Nevertheless, the experience was not useless. I now have a personal understanding of the gravity of extracting an omega z-gland, and more importantly, I have a case theory, which is why you must come with me. Now."
John groans and turns to look at the clock. It's 4 am. Bastard. He flops back down under the covers.
Sherlock flips up the duvet, revealing John's bare leg. In the next second, John feels a shock of cold hands on his ankle, followed by a yank, and he's sliding down the side of the bed.
Sherlock, meanwhile, has gone over to the dresser and has fished out a set of John's clothes, which he proceeds to toss at him. "The body is deteriorating as we speak. We need to hurry."
The victim's body is much like the last murdered omega, except this time the smell is present.
"Botched job." A thin, pointy-faced man is telling Lestrade. "The gland was severed instead of extracted."
Sherlock is bent over the body, face unsettled. He waves John over. "What do you see?"
John sees bite marks across the neck. The arms are bruised with finger prints and a puddle of blood is on the floor. It's much worse than the last time. Not to mention the smell. "Same, but like the guy said, a botched extraction."
"Don't let Anderson's idiocy bias you. Was she in heat?"
John almost laughs. "Oh, Lord, no."
Sherlock nods before frowning again. "Your hands..." Sherlock flips them over, balancing them in his own. Sherlock's hands are surprisingly warm despite the morning chill. It takes a minute for John to feel the shaking. Sherlock's hands are positively trembling, and John can't help but be relieved when Sherlock finally lets his go. "Anderson, come here. I need a beta. Lestrade, you too. More data."
They come over, but not close enough for Sherlock. "Come closer."
"Aw, the smell is getting to me," Lestrade complains. "Makes me feel like a creeper."
But Sherlock is looking from John's still hands to Anderson's slightly trembling pair to his and Lestrade's shaking fists.
"So, that explains it. Our murderer is not an alpha."
"But the bites." Lestrade points.
"A ruse. Only an omega could have successfully carried out the previous extractions. That is a certainty. The z-gland is so very delicate..." His voice goes deep, near-carnal, and even though he's looking at the dead body, both Lestrade and Anderson are glancing between John and Sherlock, mouths agape.
Lestrade scratches his head, trying to look composed. "Could have been working with an alpha?"
"Possibly," Sherlock agrees, "but more likely a beta. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the beta was the one who botched this job."
"You said it would be corporate, so we'll be looking for a rich omega," Lestrade says.
"Idiot. Almost all omegas marry into wealth. No. It's the beta that matters. Look for a beta wealthy enough to have obtained an omega. You'll find that's a much smaller pool. It's not the only possibility, but it's the most likely to turn up results." Sherlock grabs his phone and starts flying through programs. "Once you've identified your beta-omega pairs, you're next step is to find an omega with a reason to kill her own kind."
John can’t help the feeling of disgust that rises in his chest. “You don’t know that it’s the omega’s fault. The beta could be forcing her.”
Sherlock points at the bite marks on a body, before turning to look at John. “A beta would never be so vicious.”
On the way back to car, Sherlock pulls John into a small shop and purchases a mobile for him on the spot. Once in the car, John has only just taken off the wrapping and powered it up, when he gets a text.
Is this my brother?
I got a crazy text that said it was.
My pain in the vagina brother!
You’re out of the camp?
It’s me! Yes, I’m out of the camp.
Got an alpha, etc.
You just got bought, and he already gave you a phone?
And is his name really Sherlock—and why no wedding?
I like weddings. I don't have to excuse the crying or
the drinking at them.
Oh, Harry. I would shoot that prick if I could.
Yes, I like Sherlock. And yes, his name is Sherlock.
He's pathetically good-looking and brilliant at most things.
(Not all things. But THAT is a story for later.)
What's he like?
He's been taking me around with him to crime scenes.
Breeding is not his priority, trust me, although
it's totally his mum's. :-/
When is the wedding?
No wedding date set, as I've had no heat yet.
This is one of those families that do it
after there's a bun in the oven. Although my heat is
due next week—I'm not thinking about it. Don't ask me to.
(Although I know you won't.)
And just what family is this?
Don't laugh. The Holmeses.
Not laughing. Shitting myself, more like.
Wait. And shit. shit. Got to go.
Dickface is here. TTYL.
Don't text me.
I'll text you.
"Why are you frowning?" Sherlock leans over to peek at John's phone.
John flips over the mobile. "I'm not. Well, you texted my sister with my number. That was nice."
"I may not personally feel the sentiment, but I understand it is common for most siblings. Now, why the frown?" Sherlock's eyes flick away, mouth pursed as he lines up the facts. "You like the phone. You liked going to the crime scene. You like—. Something that your sister said has upset you. Her alpha?"
John can't even begin to think of the swine that way. "Her husband David. He's horrible. Controlling. She's afraid to text while he's in the same room."
Sherlock doesn’t show sympathy. "Your sister is a childless omega."
John doesn't see how it's any of Sherlock's business. He doesn't answer.
"If you miss her, we can invite them over to dinner. Mummy has already suggested it. She considered inviting your father as well, but it seemed unlikely that you have missed his presence."
"Not for a moment," John says, but then he looks down at his phone, at Harry's texts. John would like to see his sister, but he's not sure a dinner party is the way to go. What’s more, seeing his sister means seeing David too, and John hates that fucker. "I'm not sure—about Harry."
"Or if you'd rather, we could go visit her."
John has a feeling he's missing something. "And why would we do that?"
"You crave privacy with your sister. That's difficult to achieve with a formal invitation between households. But if you were to 'pop' by, no one would deny two omega siblings the chance to see each other."
"And why are you so interested in my visiting my sister?"
Sherlock's lips contort into a smirk. "Her husband. Who does he work for?"
"Some pharmaceutical company?" John can't recall the name. He pays as little attention to David as possible. The only part he's certain of is that the man earns a huge salary, enough to afford the kitschy, eight-bedroom prison where he keeps John's sister.
"Exactly. You visit your sister. I'll interview her worthless husband."
There is, however, no immediate trip to see Harry, because for the next two days, Sherlock disappears.
In his defence, John does receive the occasional text.
Why would an omega eat five bananas?
It said in the book that heats were pleasurable. Why does this video show a female omega in apparent pain? (Link attached.)
Lestrade knocked up his wife again. Tell Mummy if you have a chance. Not Mycroft.
John is not feeling so great. On the second morning, he eats his entire tray at breakfast, and once breakfast is over, Lady Holmes leads him into the kitchen where he feasts upon the previous night's pudding, the rest of the morning's rashers, and tea cakes that are supposed to be for lunch. Lady Holmes then has a late-morning snack packed to-go for him.
John devours the whole bag as soon as he sits, and when Molly comes in with tea, John downs the cup and asks if he "couldn't just have the whole kettle?"
He flips on the telly after that, and he's watching sci-fi—SCI FI—not sap romance, but when the Ewok-like fuzzy bear creature tumbles off the cliff-face to its imminent doom, John can't stop the tears from welling, and then, when the baby Ewok creature is saved by a tall, strapping man, who is definitely an alpha, John really can't stop himself. He has one grand hiccupping, snot-spewing bawl.
He knows what's going on. His body is ordering itself for his upcoming heat, but it's never been this bad.
John is also riled, but in the bad way. His skin feels itchy and his muscles are tense, and even if he wanted to wank, there's nothing he can do to get an erection. Now, if he were to stick his fingers up his hole, that would be a completely different story—but he is not doing that. No reason to gear the hormones up faster than they already are.
In the late afternoon, Mycroft shows up with three ice cream cones, two of which John greedily takes. They eat them while walking while in the gardens. Outside, the day is beautiful; all blue skies despite the chill. Mycroft is wearing a riding jacket and fitted breeches tucked into boots. It makes it so that when they step out into the bright sun, the man looks quite sporting.
John tells him this. "You look like you could join a hunting party."
Mycroft looks down, crunching on the edge of his waffle cone, and if John didn't know better, he'd almost think that Mycroft was hiding a flush. "Mother and I ride regularly. Sherlock has never taken to it. He had a pony when he was a boy, but there was an incident with a wagon and a leap into the bull pen—the pony was fine, not to worry—but well, Mummy grounded him for a month, and he never regained an interest."
John nods. "I can only imagine."
"Do you ride?" Mycroft asks kindly.
"Didn't grow up with horses."
Which Mycroft knows perfectly well, but being ever smooth, he uses it as a segue into the real question. "Would you like to learn?"
John imagines what it would feel like to sit on a horse right now. He has to suppress a shiver. Not a good idea. "In the future, maybe."
Mycroft's eyes widen ever so slightly and he turns away, realizing why John isn’t up for riding at the moment. He makes some comment about the western pasture being worth seeing this time of year, before leading them down a new path.
On a sloping hill that overlooks a creek, he and Mycroft perch on the smoother rocks, crunching on the last bits of their cones. John's fingers are a sticky mess, and rather than wipe them off properly, he licks them with silly glee. He's sucking on a knuckle when he catches Mycroft watching.
This time Mycroft doesn't look away. His eyes linger and he wets his lips.
John is the one who has to look away.
Mycroft doesn’t back off, though. "John," he says, crossing his hands in his lap. "I just want you to know that even though social customs dictate most of an omega's life, it won't be like that for you. Not here. Though it's not yet official, you are without a doubt part of our family now, and even if Sherlock doesn't know how to care for a pony, much less a very beautiful omega, you will be treated well. Your needs will be attended to. Never for a second fear that they won't."
Part of John feels annoyed. What does Mycroft Holmes know about his needs? Another part of him is impressed, because without a doubt, Mycroft meant every uttered syllable. In contrast to his brilliant and ridiculous brother, he's so completely serious, but then John knows, no less brilliant. And certainly, no less dangerous.
"Thank you, Mycroft." John's smile is uncertain.
John awakens the next morning feeling sweaty and in pain. However, it’s not his heat. No, he’s encased in over six feet of alpha, one who has his nails biting into John’s hips.
“Were you expecting anyone else?”
Oh, shit. The possessive fury in the tone makes John shiver.
Sherlock lets John turn so that they’re face-to-face, and that’s when John sees Sherlock’s expression. His pupils are shrunk to small black slits so that his eyes look less green, more yellow. Inhuman. His teeth are bared; his breathing, harsh, and as John looks up at him, Sherlock swallows. A lot of saliva then. He looks ready to bite.
“Shhhh,” John shushes, leaning into Sherlock. “No one else, only you. You smell so good.” He presses his nose against Sherlock’s chest and breathes in. The frenzied wave that bounces off the walls in his skull is almost too much. John needs to keep control. He’s not in his heat yet, but he’s not far away, and if Sherlock bites him again—it could trigger who knows what.
“Just me.” Sherlock presses against him, and John can feel a very large—
Hello, there. John has to stop himself from pushing forward, grinding against it. “Yes, yes, exactly. Why would I want anyone else when I could have this?” He pulls back so he can press his hand against Sherlock. He has to stop himself from gripping. Even with the fabric separating their skin, the girth, the length is obvious.
“Mycroft’s is tiny.”
Ah, and there we go. The source of the jealousy. John seriously doubts that Mycroft’s is tiny. It’s probably a perfectly normal beta-sized dick. Granted, it’s certainly not the mastodon in Sherlock’s pants.
John looks Sherlock in the eyes. “I don’t want Mycroft. I want you.”
This simple declaration calms Sherlock down an obvious notch or two. He snuggles his face against John’s neck and releases a long, relieved exhale. “I don’t want anyone else to have you, but Mummy said—”
“What did Mummy say?” John can only imagine.
Sherlock tenses again. “She said that you went out with Mycroft yesterday. You went around eating ice cream, lapping at the frozen, sprinkled white balls with your soft, pink tongue, and not just with one cone, but two, and Mummy said that if you liked Mycroft better, she didn’t see why you’d have to choose me when I’d made it so clear that I didn’t want to breed.” His nails are biting into John’s hips again. He pulls John closer, breathing harshly into John’s neck. “She said if one Holmes brother wasn’t up for the job, then why not the eager other?”
John’s brain is desperately trying to work out a way to calm Sherlock—to say the right set of words—while the baser part of his brain is simultaneously questioning why he ought not to prod Sherlock more. Maybe, he should say...Mycroft looked fit in his riding breeches. I liked the way the melted cream dribbled down his chin. I wanted to lick it off. We saw the stallion in the stable, all twelve inches of it. I bet Mycroft’s even bigger—but NO. No. Nooo.
An enraged alpha would mean punishment. Biting. And he and Sherlock are not going to breed.
John takes a measured breath. “Your mother is trying to manipulate you.”
Against him, Sherlock stills.
John continues. “You’re gorgeous, you know. You drive me crazy. I don’t want to get knocked up, but if I had to breed, it would be with you. I don’t want anyone else.”
“No one,” Sherlock emphasizes.
“No one else. Just you.” John presses a kiss against Sherlock’s cheek. "Your mother wants a grandchild very badly, and she’s very clever, isn’t she? She used your brother to make you jealous."
“My child would be the best grandchild. Not jealous of Mycroft.” Full-on petulant Sherlock voice.
“Yes, it would, and no, you are not jealous.” John soothes, even as he rolls his eyes. “You have no reason to be. You’re gorgeous and strong and the way you solve cases, it’s—”
Sherlock is suddenly off of him. “The case!”
Sherlock runs for the door, tries the handle and finds it locked. His eyes narrow and he runs his hand along the seam. “Two dead bolts added. I didn’t even hear the drill. Mummy.” Sherlock spits out her name with an incomprehensible combination of rage and admiration.
“So we’re stuck in here?” John asks. With Sherlock no longer pressed against him, his head is clearing rapidly.
Sherlock rolls his eyes. “How long until you’re in heat? Wait—at least twenty four hours, because you need another day of feasting according to the book. Also, now that I’m not in range, your pheromones are elevated, stronger than ever before, but you’re speaking in complete sentences. You stopped me. To be on the safe side, we should assume twelve hours.”
“Twelve hours of what?”
“Time to solve the case!” Sherlock runs over to the dresser and starts shuffling through the contents.
“That’s not the best idea. If we get caught in public, I don’t want you to get in a fight over me. And I’d rather not be publicly mated. Never really an exhibitionist, you know?”
“It won’t come to that. We have a cottage in the area where we’re headed. I’ll take you there. I'll lock you in the cellar and then guard you.”
Sounds like a joy. “Maybe it would be better if you left me here?”
Sherlock is breathing down his neck in the next second. “No. I am not leaving you here. He can't touch you.”
John nods and Sherlock relaxes. “So how are we getting out?”
Sherlock throws open his window and points. Down.
It seems it is John’s job to point out the obvious. “We’re on the fourth story.”
“And I have a ladder.” Sherlock pulls the tangle of rope out from under the bed.
All right, then. “And where are we going?”
Sherlock smiles, all charm. “To visit your sister, like I promised.”
After a somewhat perilous descent down Sherlock’s so-called ladder, they hop a few field fences until Sherlock leads him into an old tenement barn where a motorcycle is parked.
It takes John a full minute to process what Sherlock is intending. “No. No way. Absolutely not.”
Sherlock ignores him to pull on a leather jacket, and then tosses a helmet on him. “You’re not pregnant, and it’s the fastest way to get to where we need to in London. Get on.”
“Sherlock, I’m sure you’re ordinarily a wonderful driver, but I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but you haven’t exactly been yourself this morning.”
Sherlock sniffs. “Blame Mummy. I was able to ignore her Mycroft comments until she started doing a fairly stomach turning re-enactment with the ice cream on her spoon. After that, you might say I got a bit testy. I was planning on finding my pudgy arse of a brother and having a word with him, but then I realized he might have sneaked into our room—and well, I was very upset. I’ve already told you how I hate being unnerved, much less upset. Now, get on.” Sherlock throws his leg over the seat and pats the part of the cushion behind him.
John’s still holding his helmet. “I don’t trust you.”
“Not a requirement. Wear the helmet. Leg up and over.”
Being as John is also insane, he puts on the helmet and mounts the bike behind Sherlock. Wrapping his arms around Sherlock’s waist shouldn’t feel as good as it does.
When they hit the road, already going far too fast, John is happy to bury his smile in Sherlock’s collar.
Upon arriving at Harry’s house, Sherlock takes one look and pronounces it, “Gauche.”
John agrees. The combination of Greek columns with stucco moulding is needlessly dramatic. An enormous satellite dish takes up most of the side lawn. John doesn’t need to look twice to see the signs that this isn’t his sister’s home. Not really.
“The husband is here, a local maid, a cook as well—specializes in Italian fare even though she’s Greek—and someone… else.” Sherlock is glaring at a yellow convertible parked at the top of the drive. He’d assumed it was David’s, but apparently, it’s not.
“If you’re worried about another alpha, you can take me to the cottage right now. It’s fine.”
Sherlock is sneering at the car. “No. Not an alpha. The driver is male, and what male alpha would buy a yellow Lamborghini? What would be the point, to look sunny?” Sherlock skips up the steps and hits the buzzer next to the front door.
To John’s surprise, it’s Harry who answers. She—well, admittedly, he hasn’t seen her for a year—but she doesn’t look her best. Her soft blond hair hangs lank, and her blue eyes are completely devoid of their usual spirit. Her eyes widen, though, when she looks at Sherlock. She wasn’t expecting an alpha. “One minute,” she says. “My husb—” But then she sees John.
“Hey, Harry.” John smiles at his sister.
“Johnny!” She bodily launches herself at him.
She smells like Cabernet Sauvignon and too much sleep, but there’s the undertone that John recognizes: the warm, affectionate smell that he’s always associated with his sister. Certainly part of it comes from her omega pheromones, but part of it, he thinks, is family. Harry looks so much like their mother these days, just as unhappy but equally as loving.
Harry is already brushing tears off her cheeks and sniffling when she lets him go. “I missed you so, so much. I’m so glad you’re here.” She wipes at her cheeks again, and then she laughs, a smile finally breaking onto her face. “And so, introductions. Who’s the fox?” She grins at Sherlock.
“Sherlock Holmes.” Sherlock leans down to kiss Harry’s wrist.
She bites her lips for a second and then laughs. “John wasn’t lying when he said you were pretty.”
“Pretty?” Sherlock’s eyes slice in John’s direction, but the annoyance is all faked. The man is internally preening. It’s written in his swagger.
Harry looks between the two of them, grinning. “And goodness—John—how are you out? You smell like a ripe peach.”
John cringes, for if his sister can smell him, then all the alphas in the neighbourhood probably can as well. “We can’t actually stay long, but—”
The door flies open. “Harriet, what is going on?” David has his arms crossed and he’s glaring at Sherlock, nostrils flaring. His suit is a silver-grey with a beet-coloured tie blaring in the centre of it. He’s at home yet he looks dressed for a board meeting.
Harry’s smile goes from natural to forced. “John, my brother, is here with his new mate, Sherlock Holmes.”
David doesn’t spare a look for John. “Holmes?” The man takes a step back from Sherlock.
Sherlock steps forward, towering over David. “Yes, Sherlock Holmes. Pleased to meet your acquaintance—David-something, was it? Sorry to pop by unannounced, but we were in the area, and John so dearly wanted to see Harry. I couldn’t deny him the opportunity, could I? Isn’t it simply wonderful to see two siblings reunite?”
Sherlock’s little speech is all posh charm, and it’s so unlike him that John is a bit on the shocked side when David gestures for them to come inside.
“Family is always welcome,” David agrees, even though his eyes scream that he’s lying.
Once inside, David invites Sherlock into the parlour for a scotch, while suggesting that Harry and John “go catch up.”
Sherlock nods, but before they leave, he bends close to John, as if leaning in for a kiss but instead whispers in John’s ear. “David is not an alpha.”
Before John can react, Sherlock has spun away, following David with his usual purposeful walk. Harry, meanwhile, loops her arm through John’s. “You’re probably famished, eh?”
“Starving,” he says.
“Good. I’ve been baking. We’ll have tea and treacle tart and catch up.” Her voice is high and cheerful, but as soon as they’re through the doors and into the kitchen, Harry’s shoulders sag. “I hate him. I just—I hate him.”
“I’ll make the tea,” John says, spotting the kettle.
“My advice, avoid the cream, as close as you are—and damn it all, John, I like Sherlock well enough since I see that you blatantly want to shag the pants off him—and trust me, hating your mate is not the way to live life—but that man is a bloody maniac bringing you here so close to your heat. What happens if the flood hits while you’re here? What’s he going to do if that happens—shag you in the guest bedroom?”
Knowing Sherlock... John winces. “Sherlock said something confusing to me on the way in here. He whispered in my ear that David was a beta.”
Harry freezes. When the kettle starts to scream, she lifts it and pours out two cups. “Lady Grey alright? Lemon?”
“S’fine. Are you going to answer me?”
Harry brings her cup over, looks around, and drops her voice low. “It’s the deepest knife, you know? Father cared so little about my happiness. Clara was a female alpha, but David isn’t even a... He’s just a rich fuck.”
John still doesn’t understand. “But he smelled like an alpha—or at least he didn’t smell not like an alpha.”
Harry nods. “He takes boosters, but even still, he likes me to tell him he’s a ‘big B.’ More like little D, if you ask me.”
John would laugh at her joke, but the bitterness in Harry’s voice tears at him too much. “I had no idea. It’s been over five years; you’re past the statute on the dowry. Have you considered a divorce?”
Harry’s mouth twists. “Five years and a child—that’s the statute, and as selfish as I am, I couldn’t bear to give that bastard a child. He would use any child against me, anyway. I just—I couldn’t—even if meant that I could be with—Oh, the tart! I forgot completely about it, and here you are, starving. I’ll have a slice. You take the rest.”
She’s not ready to talk about it. Or at least, not yet. John picks up the first triangle slice of tart and bites down. The sweetness goes right to his gut. He groans happily—which makes Harry laugh.
“Drink some tea, too. Can’t have you choking.”
“Don’t need tea. Need this.”
He is actually reaching for the tea, though, when footsteps sound in the hallway.
The door swings open to emit a neatly dressed man in a suit. His tie is a brilliant shade of orange, and his suit is a shining navy, but somehow, unlike David, he looks completely at ease in the luxurious material, like he could be sipping an Appletini on a tropical beach just as naturally as standing centre stage and announcing corporate layoffs. He smiles hugely when he sees Harry and John, but then his mouth snaps shut in horror. “Harry—you gave him the entire tart? You bitch!”
“He needed it more than you,” Harry says, rolling her eyes. “He’s close to his heat.”
“You’re right,” the man says leaning into smell John. “He smells almost as delicious as the tart. Not fair.”
John would be put off, but there’s no alpha smell—no beta smell—no omega smell. In fact, the man barely smells at all. A eunuch?
Harry hops up onto the counter. “Jimmy, this is my brother. Meet John. John, meet my godsend, Jim. This is the man who has kept me sane for the past five years.”
“Oh, do stop,” Jim complains, but it’s with an outrageous hip wiggle.
“How do you know David?” John asks politely. He’s still confused. Harry has never mentioned a Jim—not once.
“He is David’s boss. Owns the whole company, actually.”
“Impressive.” John smiles. Here is the owner of the yellow Lamborghini, the man that sparkles “sunny.”
“Boring, normally. More interesting lately, I suppose.” Jim shrugs. “I’d much rather be in your shoes, imminent upon your mating with the better looking of the fabulously talented Holmes brothers. How lovely. I hope I’ll be invited to the wedding—I love weddings. Not baby showers. Ew, don’t you dare, but always weddings.”
“Oh, well, I...” John doesn’t know how to react to the man.
“Oh.” Jim’s hand flies to his mouth. He looks at Harry. “Is your brother like you? Doesn’t want the baby in the belly? He did hide away as a beta all those years...” Jim chuckles wickedly.
Harry frowns at John. “I haven’t asked him. I was waiting for him to tell me.”
John can’t help but be offended by the man. “How did you know I was hiding as a beta?”
Jim’s smile only gets wider. “Who do you think gave Harry those pills?”
“Oh—I—” John had always wondered. “She never told me. I never asked.”
“Me!” Jim laughs, tie swishing in his glee.
“Jim’s the reason that I’m not knocked up with David’s kid,” Harry whispers.
“Shh!” Jim bats at her. He is still laughing.
“So you take pills to—” John cuts himself off.
Jim’s mouth forms an o-shape. “Something tells me that Johnny doesn’t want widdle ones with his big strong alpha man.”
John rolls his eyes. “I wouldn’t mind the, um, mating—but neither of us wants kids. Not now.”
“Is that all? I have a pill for that.” Jim starts shuffling through his bag. “You should probably take it now, though, since you just ate. If you wait too close to the heat, you’ll puke it up.” He pulls two small green pills out of his bag. “One for you, and one for you, for later—in case I’m out on business.” Jim puts pills in both of their open palms.
The small football-shaped pill looks so innocuous in his palm, and yet, John isn’t sure... He starts to slide the pill into his pocket.
Harry elbows him. “No, take it now. Don’t worry. Whether or not you know it, you’ve been taking pills from Jim for years. Don’t be worried. No babies. And um,” she glances away, “miscarriages are far worse. Trust me.”
John chases the pill with tea.
“See.” Jim smiles at him. “Now, you can go about your sex frenzy with no worries.” He winks.
“Oh, crap,” Harry’s phone buzzes. “I need to take this.”
“Go on, darling. We’ll be fine by ourselves. Talk to your girl.”
“Jim,” Harry complains, but she leaves in no small hurry.
Jim waves her out and goes to pour himself a cup of tea. He takes a sip. “Too weak.”
“Thank you, by the way, for your help. Not just now, but before too. It was nice having my own life for those extra years.” John reaches to pick a grape off from the fruit bowl in the centre of the table. He almost drops the grape twice before he gets it into his mouth.
“Well, having a life is a grace, isn’t it? The way omegas are treated in this world is horrible.”
“That’s kind of you to say.” John has to lean forward on his elbow. His balance is off.
“Is what?” John’s not sure he’s heard Jim right. His head feels too funny.
“Is it kind for me to be selfish?”
Across the room Jim is still smiling, but there’s something unnatural about the expression. He’s looking at John like he sees something intoxicating. “Yes, John. Selfish. You see, I’m an omega, too.”
Steady hands. Jim doesn’t even smell.
John opens his mouth to yell "Sherlock!" but is stopped as Jim clamps his hand over his mouth.
“Nuh-uh-uh,” Jim tutts, and it’s the last sound that John hears.
John awakens to see evenly-spaced lines floating vertically in his vision. He feels... his skin is on fire, and between his legs there’s the familiar trickle of moisture. Because of the early symptoms of heat onset, it takes another moment for him to put it together that he’s in a cage.
Three out of the four walls are plaster, and through the front bars there’s another blank white wall. John is examining the floor and ceiling, trying to deduce how the hell they got him in here, when the whole cage jolts and the wall beyond the bars starts to move up. He’s in elevator, and he’s descending.
Sure enough, when the plaster beyond the bars disappears, a chime rings. As John lets his eyes adjust to the light, he sees a laboratory, and more annoyingly, he sees Jim and David, shed of their suits and dressed in sterile lab coats.
Jim strides right up to him, hips swishing. “Hi there, Johnny.” Jim’s hands are bandaged. Blood stains the crease between the index and the middle fingers.
Jim notices him looking. “Ah, yes, that alpha of yours—viciously clever. He heard your cry despite my shushing you, and what did he do? He came running right for you. Of course, that was when he found me wielding a knife above your unconscious form. When I told him to step back, or else, he swiped the knife from me—quick hands, that one—and even with David coming up behind him and pressing a gun between his shoulder blades, he came at my hands with the knife. Didn’t care if he died, he only wanted to make sure that his little omega didn’t get his juicy fruit extracted.”
John’s blood runs cold. “Where is Sherlock?”
Jim has a micropipette in his bandaged palm. He’s rolling it back and forth. “He was a bit of an idiot, you know. Then again, I suppose most alphas are when it comes to their omegas.” Jim sighs, except with the way he closes his eyes, it’s more like a swoon. “But we’re done with the omega-only z-gland extractions. It turned out it was a bit of a waste. The specialized enzyme that I’m looking for, my magical catalyst, it only appears in sufficient quantities when—”
Both John and Jim turn at the sound of creaking wheels. David, assisted by another lab tech, is wheeling a gurney into the room. Strapped down onto the bed is Sherlock.
Jim finishes his sentence with a smile. “—when an alpha is present during his heat.”
“No.” John pushes at the bars of his cage. “Someone is going to find out about this and stop you. The Holmeses will never rest if you—”
“Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!” Jim whines, stomping his foot. “David, he can’t be here. He’s too hormonal and melodramatic. I don’t like it. Take him upstairs.”
David steps toward John with a far too eager look on his face.
Jim doesn’t fail to notice this. “And I don’t care how good he smells. If you fuck him, it will jeopardize the data. Keep control. He has an hour until his heat is in onset, so no pathetic excuses. And John—” Jim flashes him a chilling sneer. “Don’t think of fighting David. If you so much as hit him, your alpha gets the same punishment, but threefold.”
When David unlocks the cage and steps inside, John doesn’t fight him, instead he keeps his eyes locked on Sherlock’s still form. The only movement he makes is to breathe. The rise and fall of Sherlock’s chest is all that keeps John from collapsing when the elevator starts its ascent.
For a minute, John thinks David is going to do exactly as Jim asked: deposit John in the room and leave. In fact, David has his card halfway slide through the security slot when he stops and turns. “It’s uncanny how much you and your sister look alike.”
John pulls his knees to his chest. He’s pushed himself onto an exam table, as far back in the corner as he can get. “Not really. We’re both blue-eyed and blond. That’s roughly it.”
“Oh, that’s not it.” David crosses his arms and leans back against the door. “You both have the same sharp cheekbones. You’re younger than Harriet, so your skin’s a bit smoother. Softer.” The man smiles and takes a breath, but it comes out flustered.
Shit. Fuck. In a room this small John’s pheromones are concentrating to intense levels. “Jim said he wanted you to leave immediately.”
Wrong thing to say.
“Jim?” David gives a croaked laugh and pushes off the door, taking step after step toward John. “Do you think I don’t know what he’s doing? Giving my wife those pills? I bet you all thought I was so stupid that I didn’t notice that my omega wife seemed incapable of keeping a child with my seed. But no, that’s Jim—he likes to tell the underlings, He that giveth can taketh away. He told me that if I couldn’t manage my own omega, how could I manage my part of the company?”
“You could just divorce Harry. She doesn’t love you.”
“Yes, yes, whatever. But then, and this is the funny part, Jim and I made a bargain, only a month ago. You see, Jim—” David laughs. “—was in a car accident when he was thirteen. A pole sliced right through his abdomen, but he survived, except his z-gland didn’t, and that’s what he wants. He wants to be a true omega. He’s built this entire fucking empire.” David gestures at the walls. “And all he wants is an alpha to look at him like he’s bleeding prime rib. It’s fucking pathetic.”
“So you helped him murder innocent omegas?”
“Yes, in exchange for him stopping his little pill deliveries to my wife. Oh, your face. You hate me. Going after the omegas wasn’t so bad, you know. I got to play with them first. Jim let me.”
John feels the bile rise in his throat, but it is all burn, because his stomach is otherwise empty. His body is too close to heat.
“But you’re not on any pills now, are you?” David is closing in on him; the man’s hips are pressed against the edge of the table, and the way he’s bending his hips, it’s making his erection prominent from under his lap jacket.
John has never felt so exposed. He’s dressed in only a hospital gown, green with a tie in the back. “Please, don’t touch me.”
David laughs and grabs his arm.
John shoves at it, but then David catches his other wrist. Before John can kick out, David’s larger frame is pressing down on him, pinning him with his knees and hands.
“Get off me.” John snarls.
David doesn’t even seem to hear him. His eyes are closed and he’s sniffing, taking in long, furious breaths. “You are the most delicious smelling creature I have ever...” He bends down, close to John’s ear. “All it will take will be one bite.” The man blows on the sweaty corner of John’s neck. “Right there at the back of your neck, and then you won’t be protesting any more. You’ll be spreading your legs like a whore, begging me to—”
A hollow thump sounds above them, and David pitches forward on John, covering his whole face.
“What the—?” John hears David say, but then there’s another, even louder thump.
David’s weight is suddenly off of John.
John lifts up to see Harry staring down at an unconscious David.
Her finger stabs the air above him. “You can ruin my life. You can even fuck the stuffing out of my million dollar cunt. But you—never—ever—fuck with my baby brother!”
After that John has to stop Harry from pounding David’s face off. They end up having a brief tug of war—with John’s shouting, “He’s not worth it, Harry!" —and— “He’s unconscious” —until Harry finally let’s go of the massive torch-shaped object. Even holding it, it takes John a moment to comprehend that the object is actually a massive glass dildo.
“Do you use this?” John asks in astonishment. He tosses the dildo at his sister in horror.
Harry shrugs. “I like to imagine Clara has a big one.”
“Right, so what do we do now?”
“Get out of here,” a soft voice says.
Harry, still protective, throws herself in front of John, but John is already pushing her away. “Harry—no, no—it’s fine. She’s on our side.”
Standing in front of them, dressed head-to-toe in black is Anthea. A knife handle protrudes from the top of her leather boot, and the honking gun she’s holding looks like it could barely fit through door. Despite the bulky vest, the pants she’s wearing grip like spandex. It makes it pretty obvious that the woman is fucking fit.
“Hi, John. Harry.” Anthea nods.
“Mycroft sent you?” John asks.
Anthea shrugs. “I was assigned to be your tail from the moment you shimmied down the drain pipe with Sherlock. Of course, I didn’t know my afternoon was going to involve breaking into a top security bioresearch facility to save your asses. This is going to involve a lot of paperwork.” She gives him a brief annoyed glare.
“You could have got here sooner,” Harry hisses. “I had to save him. That monster was almost on my brother.”
Anthea doesn’t so much as blink. “I was moments away from securing him when I realized you were approaching, and then, well…” Anthea’s lips twitch. “I suppose I let sentiment get the best of me. I thought you’d enjoy taking your husband down more than I would.”
“Oh, well,” Harry stutters, abashed.
“Did you really think it was normal that you were able to waltz through the facility without running into a single guard?” Anthea asks.
Harry blinks at her.
They’re getting off track, and they’re running out of time. “We need to get Sherlock,” John says.
Anthea nods, before reaching over her shoulder into her bag and pulling out yet another gun. She thrusts it at John. “You’ve fired a weapon before, yeah?”
“I’d intended to, seeing as I wanted to join the army and all, but I’ve never actually—”
“Whatever,” Anthea leans over to flip off the safety. “If anyone tries to mate you, shoot them.”
“Um, I don’t know if I can…”
Anthea shakes her head before flipping a latch on the barrel of the gun. She pushes it open to reveal, not bullets but small tack-like objects. “Stun pellets. Not a good idea to shoot someone in the eye, but you shoot them in the chest a few times and they won’t be able to remember their first name.”
“Oh, well, that’s useful.” John tests his grip on the gun.
Anthea gives a smaller pistol to Harry. “This one doesn’t have darts.”
“I’m fine with that.” Harry takes the gun.
“Thought so.” Anthea stands. “Okay, Watsons, I’ve got your six.”
Harry and John exchange confused glances, but regardless, they head out into the hall.
With Anthea’s help, they make it up two stories without too many troubles. She silently takes down two guards before John’s even realized they were there.
It’s when they reach the upstairs hallway that they’re in trouble.
“Eight guards,” Anthea says, examining the hallway through a small extended mirror. “That’s too many. Maybe if I could count on you two to—no. Better to leave and wait for backup.”
“But Sherlock!” John whispers.
“I say we take them.” Harry is crouched down with her gun. “Either way, John’s smell is about ten minutes from turning into an alpha homing beacon. Even you won’t be immune to him, then.”
Anthea nods. “And it could very well take longer than that to get him out.” She grits her teeth, frustrated, but then her hand snaps back and she starts patting her bag. “Okay, new idea.” She yanks a mysterious yellow canister out of her bag, and then—a set of masks.
“Poison gas? Will that reach all the way to the end of the hall?” Harry couldn't look more sceptical.
“No, we’ll need all the guards to come in close. Concentrate the exposure.” Anthea turns to John. “How do you feel about playing bait?”
Heart pounding in his chest, John does his best to strut down the hallway.
“You there!” A guard shouts. “Halt!”
John stops with his hands held high in the air.
“You’re the omega,” the guard growls, his free hand already moving to the radio at his belt. “You’re not supposed to be out here.”
“I’m so lost!” John complains. “And when I was in the room—that bad man, David, well….” John glances down at the floor before looking back up through his lashes. “He tried to,” John swallows, bites his lips, looks away, “have his dirty way with me. I only barely got away.”
“He did what?” The guard’s voice has gone soft. He takes a step toward John.
John flinches, even as he feels completely ridiculous.
“Oh, it’s okay,” the guard soothes. “I’ll protect you.”
“Twenty-seven!” Another guard comes marching down the hallway. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Back away from him.”
The guard takes a step back before glaring at the other man. “I was trying to protect him.”
“Eighty-four and sixteen, get down here!” The new guard calls into his radio. He marches up to the other guard. “Protect my ass—he doesn’t,” the guard pauses, and he glances at John, who smiles winningly at him. The guard gives a flustered smile in return before turning on 27. “He doesn’t need you. He has me.”
In the next second, they’re throwing punches.
At the disturbance, the other guards come rushing down the hallway. When one suddenly turns toward John, licking his lips and looking intent upon his neck, another guard leaps forward to tackle him before he can make a move.
John is frankly so impressed by the whole display that he almost misses the signal: three raps on the wall.
He barely gets the gas mask on in time as Anthea launches the canister at the melee surrounding him. The yellow fumes choke the hallway with smoke. One by one the guards start coughing, and then they fall to the floor, silent.
Harry and Anthea emerge a minute later.
Harry takes off her gas mask and hip-bumps him. “Little brother, you were so hot. They all wanted to give you babies. Fight each other for them.” She imitates the fist fight, punching the air with right and left hooks and giggling somewhat uncontrollably.
Anthea, though, takes her mask off only to put it right back on. She’s staring at John with wide eyes. “Your scent—we need to hurry.”
Harry goes in first, pistol raised. John follows her. Inside, the laboratory is strangely empty of everyone except for Sherlock lying dead centre.
John’s head goes dizzy at the sight of him. That is perhaps why he doesn’t react immediately when the lights go out and a single red dot appears in the centre of Harry’s forehead.
John turns back around—looking for Anthea—but she’s not there.
Around them, Jim’s voice crackles through the speakers. “John—and Harry too? I’m actually surprised to see you, darling. What have you two been up to? And how did you manage to take down my security system? Has David been listing out security codes during pillow talk? Hmmm?”
It takes John a moment to realize that Jim doesn’t know about Anthea. Hell, he was probably expecting a squad of blue berets to be charging in, not John and Harry.
“Now drop your weapons.”
“Jim!” Harry yells, and with the red light of the emergency exit sign providing the only light besides the sniper dots, Harry looks downright terrifying. “Stop this now. This isn’t you.”
“Oh, Harry,” Jim coos. “I liked you so much better when your miserable existence made my own life seem rosy by comparison. Now, your brother’s here, and so you have purpose and direction. It doesn’t suit you. I don’t like it at all.”
“Jim—” Harry starts.
But Jim cuts her off with a maniacal roar. “Enough!” After which, John can hear him clear his throat. “I said drop your weapons.”
They drop them.
“Good little omegas. Now, give them a good slide—toward the left side of the room.”
Harry and John both send their weapons skidding into the darkness.
“Now, Johnny boy, if you would be so kind as to stand near Sherlock.”
“For a family photo,” Jim snaps, before shouting again. “I said, DO IT!”
John takes a step in Sherlock’s direction. With the dim light, he can make out the straps binding his body. He, like John, is in a drab hospital gown. God, his scent. As John draws closer, Sherlock’s breathing changes: the slow rise and fall of his chest transforms into a light pant. His lips part, and he takes an open-mouthed breath.
“Good,” Jim says, but this time the voice isn’t through the speakers. Stepping out of the shadows, Jim is all smiles.
John doesn’t miss that in his hand he’s holding a full syringe.
“Yep, you’re a minute or two away from brainless, Johnny, and then what’s going to happen? You’re going to try to ride your tiger, naturally. I’ll stop you. You’ll be feeling a little prick, unfortunately not the big one you want.” Jim ruefully shrugs.
John takes a step back. “I don’t understand why you’re doing this. I mean, I know you want to research the medical process, but why force us—why not try and get willing test subjects? Your company is successful. You have the funds.”
“Maybe, idiot, success isn’t what I care about. I have it. I swim in it. It’s boring.”
John doesn’t give up, though. “And I’m certain older omegas wouldn’t mind—even an extreme procedure like extracting a z-gland—if they thought it was for a good cause.”
“Oh, you don’t get it, do you?” Jim rubs at his forehead. “Do you know what this enzyme will do? It’s not just about you or me. It’s going to change our world. If I can master the enzyme, that means that anyone—anyone—can be as instantly attractive as an omega. Do you know why omega suppressants are still banned? Do you know why your sister had to smuggle them through to you? Because the government likes it this way,” Jim whispers through a cupped hand. “It holds its monopoly on power because of society’s archaic obsession with gender hierarchy, because it can point to an omega as the reproductive symbol of perfection.”
“I don’t think I’m perfect,” John mumbles. Oh God, his head. The smells in the room. Sherlock.
“But what if you were? I mean, you know what they say when an omega genius is born? ‘Oh, that’s okay. He’ll have lots of genius babies.’ No matter how statistically unlikely that possibility is.”
John doesn’t know what to say. His head is fuzzy, and the only thing he’s sure about is that he wants sex, but fuck, what Jim is saying is confusing him too.
“That’s right,” Jim soothes. “You’re a slave to your nature right now, but if you could take my company’s pills you wouldn’t be. That’s why I need the enzyme. I need to take away the omega’s halos and wings, so that they can be normal. So that others can have halos and wings too, at least for a little while. Do you know what will happen then? When omegas aren’t so special? They won’t need to be bought and sold anymore. Suppressants will be allowed. You’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too, John.”
Jim’s smile is so bright. John wipes at his own forehead. It’s coated in sweat. Stretched out on the gurney, Sherlock looks so painfully beautiful. John wonders what he would have done if he wasn’t an omega—if Sherlock wasn’t an alpha. If he didn’t have a way of gaining his attention.
But then behind him he hears, “Don’t listen to him, John.”
He turns to see Harry.
There’s something different.
It takes a second for it to click. There’s no red dot on her forehead.
Nor one on Sherlock’s.
And—he can see his own reflection in the stainless steel refrigerator—none on his either.
But then he hears the hiss of recognition from Jim. He has realized what’s going on, but instead of running, he leaps at John, syringe in the air.
Jim is a foot away when he’s suddenly yanked back.
Sherlock has Jim by the arm.
Jim spins, ready to turn the syringe on Sherlock, but Sherlock—who apparently has long since dispensed with his bonds, snatches the syringe right out of his hands and plunges it into Jim’s shoulder, pushing the fluid in until Jim is trembling and gasping.
Jim falls to the floor with a hollow thud.
John is still trying to process what’s going on—
—Harry is saying something about locking Jim in an asylum—
—Anthea has appeared (gas mask still on) saying something—
“...too easy to take out the snipers ... kept forgetting to aim because of John—"
John staggers and falls to his knees.
Oh, God. Oh, fuck. It’s coming. It’s about to—and he’s here in a fucking lab—and—
Arms grasp him, and the next thing he’s knows he’s being carried, bridal style, down a long hallway. John is safe. He knows because he can smell his alpha.
Under his breath, Sherlock is muttering something. Something like, Protect John from the spawn. Protect John from infestation. It can’t have him. Protect. At the end of the hall, there are metal bars—like a monkey cage. Did they do animal testing here? John doesn’t think that’s very nice.
Not nice like Sherlock.
John is about to press up for a kiss when he finds himself rolling across concrete.
The door is slammed behind him, and John winces as a set of keys is flung at his chest.
Sherlock, on the other side of the bars, is panting. He’s got sweat across his brow, and his whole body is pressed against the metal rails in a painful way.
“But I want you,” John whines.
“You’re safe. Oh, fuck you’re safe.” Sherlock makes a sobbing sound into his elbow before biting down on his fist.
“Sherlock.” John sits up on his knees.
“John, stay back.”
John is so wet. He lifts up his hospital gown.
Goodness, it’s soaked.
“Do you really want me to?” John makes a point of gathering some of the witness on his fingertip and licking it, rolling his tongue around the edges of the nail so there’s no taste left behind.
Sherlock lets out a growl that can probably be heard three floors up. “No—but that’s the problem. I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anything. I like you. I like the way you smell. I like your hair and your wry blue eyes.”
“My eyes are wry?” John’s mouth falls open in astonishment. Around him, the walls seem to be shaking. When his fingers touch the floor, the texture seems too soft for concrete.
“And your mouth. Oh, fuck. Your mouth. I want to shoot gobs of my semen into it.”
John can’t help it. He licks his bottom lip and moans at the thought of the taste. “Do you think about this a lot? Last week, did you go and wank after our trip home in the car?” John’s voice comes out in a purr. He knows what he needs to do. He needs to find the keys. Where did they go? Sneaky little keys. But then he sees them. They are hiding in the corner!
“Since the car ride, I have touched myself seventeen times with thoughts of your person.”
John loses his balance and drops the keys. “Seventeen? You counted?”
“And I wanted to murder my brother. I wanted to fucking disembowel him for looking in your direction.”
“Oh, Sherlock.” John is trying to stand. He’s swaying too much, but that’s not his fault. The floor won’t stay in place, which is a problem when his legs have turned to butter, and his butt feels slippery.
Through the bars, Sherlock is nodding. “That’s right, John. Come here. I just need to touch you, hold your hand.”
“I don’t want you to hold my hand.” John is so offended he drops the fucking keys again.
He’s bent over on the floor when Sherlock’s hand stretches through the bars, a long finger reaching out to stroke at the tip of his nose.
It feels wonderful. He almost wants to cry, except that Sherlock is still petting his nose.
“John,” Sherlock says, and his voice is so deep, like sex. Oh, John wants to fuck it.
But as it is, Sherlock’s finger is just hanging out there, so John tilts up his face and he sucks it into his mouth.
Sherlock lasts for one long growl before he starts thrashing at the bars. “Now, now, I need in you—John, get the fucking keys so I can put you on my cock and—”
John stops listening, because they’ve been so silly. The bars on the cage are what?
And Sherlock’s cock is…
John happily pauses to assess.
Math is so beautiful.
John squirms happily before arranging his feet and pushing up to stand.
Sherlock freezes, eyes intent on John. “The keys?”
John shakes his head, eyes wry (yes, wry!) and mouth in an open, teasing smile.
He turns around, lifts up the back of his hospital gown and presses his arse against the cold rails of the cage.
Behind him, there is a moment of silence.
And then, behind him, comes the explosion. A scramble with fabric. A roar. Sherlock has his own his gown flipped up, and there’s a draft of cold air, a sudden brush of moist skin. Hands seize on John’s hips, and Sherlock spears himself into John.
Oh, shit. John can’t breathe. He’s gripping the rails and oh fucking god—will Sherlock ever learn gentle?—but then Sherlock grabs and yanks John back toward him, and the rush of relief blooms with the scratch of tension, and John is moaning, sputtering, squeaking, cursing because of the bonfire raging inside and out.
“John,” Sherlock pants, bracketing John’s hips against the bars so that he can drive in and out—not caring for shit about a slow build up or control or making it last.
“Sherlock,” John gasps back.
“Mine,” Sherlock agrees, and that’s when he lets go of John’s hip to tug at his hair.
John’s scalp is stinging when Sherlock bites down on his neck at the same time that he thrusts so fucking deep that John can feel the man’s balls slapping.
John thinks he might be screaming. He’s not sure, but Sherlock is biting down hard enough to draw blood, and then there’s the pressure—a deep expanding pressure inside of him.
The knot, it’s starting to—
In the back of John’s mind, he feels some sense of doubt, like, maybe this shouldn’t be happening. Maybe, it’s a bad idea.
No. Noooo. He dismisses it completely. He was born for this.
Because, fuck, fuck, and fuck, the pressure tingles in as many good ways as bad, and John’s own cock is hard and leaking, and when Sherlock gives a final heaving thrust, this time teeth biting into John’s shoulder—John’s body goes rigid, shuddering in Sherlock’s arms as he comes and comes, spilling white out onto the concrete below.
He has to grip the bars on either side to make sure he doesn’t slump to the floor and take them both with him.
In the minutes that follow, John becomes aware of Sherlock licking at the bite on his neck. The world remains hazy. They’re still knotted, sealed together, bonded, but that makes John smile. They’re bonded now. Hell, he’s probably knocked up. But then another orgasm shoots through them both, and John forgets to think about such minor details.
He has Sherlock, and that’s all that matters.
John’s only just begun to feel the first signs of the knot deflating when they hear steps padding down the hallway. “Yoo-hoo, boys!” It’s Mrs Hudson.
Sherlock whips around with a snarl—or well, as much as he can. He’s a bit tied up.
Mrs Hudson tutts. “Now, fangs down dear. I know you’re a bit addled at the moment so I won’t hold it against you, but I’m an omega—no threat! What do you think I’m going to do with your young man, nub him to death, hmmm?”
John, as fogged as his brain is, realizes that this situation is impolite.
“Oh, now look at you two.” Mrs Hudson laughs. “Caught between the bars. Mercy, I have to confess that’s always been a slight fantasy of mine. Sometimes, even after they sent my nutter of a husband off to jail, I’d occasionally get an inkling to make use of visiting hours—not that I ever did, mind you. But whatever you might say about his homicidal tendencies, that alpha was a wolf in the sack.”
This is about the time that Sherlock completely deflates inside of John, enough for him to slide out. Sherlock quickly pushes John’s hospital gown back down.
John wonders if that was Mrs Hudson’s plan all along.
Without Sherlock’s hands to steady him, John stumbles. He hears his name being called, even as he falls to his knees and slumps to the side. He can’t feel his limbs. Even his fingers are tingling. He wants to be touched, though. He misses Sherlock’s touch. Where’s Sherlock?
Vaguely in the background, he hears Sherlock repeating, “I’m here, John.”
Mrs Hudson is saying, “Don’t try breaking down the bars, you dolt. We’ll use this nice long broom here—and no, dearie, that’s right, I’m sure it’s not longer than you. Only let me hook the keys. There we go. Up and through, like a basic stitch. Good coordination, that’s right. Very good.”
There’s a metal click, and arms reach under John, lifting him up.
“That’s right. Your mother has the van sent up this way to take you to the cottage. I’ll lead you right to it.”
Sherlock lets out a snarl.
“Now, what’s this?” She clucks. “Snarling at a post-menopause omega and next your dear Lady mother? You know that Alphas do not interfere with their alpha children’s mates, especially not after a bond. Or at least, you should. Everyone else does. This is what comes from skiving off on your lessons!”
John, bundled as he is against Sherlock’s chest, hears a scoff that reverberates in Sherlock’s chest, but this time it sounds less aggressive. John thinks Sherlock might be a bit ashamed of snarling over his Mummy.
“That’s right,” Mrs Hudson carries on indignantly. “Once you’re out of the crazies, we’re going to have a serious talk about the birds and the bees, you and I will.”
Sherlock mutters something impolite.
“Oh, don’t even try, young man. I’m a tailor, don’t forget. And if you do, you’ll quickly remember when you wake up one morning stitched into the rug. And then I will force you to listen.”
Later, after a car ride that consists of light flashing through trees and kisses pressed and licked into his neck, John opens his eyes as a country breeze sweeps over his skin.
A door is thrown open, and John is laid down on a soft bed. His horrible green gown is pulled off, and he opens his arms to accept a hard, long body against his, a solid weight that pushes in all the right places.
This time, when Sherlock enters him, it’s with a bite on the lips and kiss in the neck.
John takes him in and let’s himself be filled, be mashed into instinct.
Over and over again.
Until the sun sets and rises and sets again.
Waking up is an hours-long process. Sherlock is pressed lengthwise against him, one hand absently stroking across John’s ribs. His free hand is... John has to work hard to focus his eyes to see that Sherlock is texting.
“Bad manners,” John murmurs, snuggling back against him.
“Answering questions about the case.” Sherlock kisses John’s neck.
John smiles, stretching out a bit to test himself. His hip hurts, even as he presses weight onto it. A spot on his neck stings too, but unexpectedly when he squeezes his arse cheeks, there’s not pain so much as a raw feeling, an uncomfortable tightness.
It takes a moment of sturdy self-analysis, but then John is without a doubt: he could totally go again.
That’s insane, John knows. He knows he’s in the final stage; the hormones are still there, even if the drive has cooled to a low smoulder. John has been fucked six ways from Sunday; he shouldn’t want more. Sherlock probably doesn’t. He’s already gone back to his logical, non-hormone muddled world, texting half the planet with his brilliance.
John needs to see, though. A small test. He spins around, taking the sheet with him.
Sherlock makes a slight noise. John can’t tell if it’s irritated or turned on or what, but then Sherlock says in a flat tone, “Stealing the sheets is bad manners.”
John, however, is too distracted to answer. Twisting the sheets has uncovered Sherlock’s lower half and revealed that the alpha is sporting an impressive case of morning wood. John reaches for it, needing to touch, and when his fingers encircle the silky skin of the shaft, Sherlock stills, eyes closing. His phone slips from his hand.
Watching Sherlock react this way is the sexiest thing John has ever seen, and he can’t even remember—not in a clear way—having watched Sherlock truly come apart.
John thinks he’d like to see that with a clearer head. He wants to be able to remember it. “Sherlock,” he says, bending up to kiss his neck. “Can you lie back?”
Sherlock pulls a pillow out from behind him, so that he can do exactly as John says and collapse backwards. He looks confused though. “You’re sore. After forty-eight hours of copulation, you should be careful with your body.”
John pushes up, testing himself. Yes, he is sore. His right arm especially looks like a chew toy, and his left nipple has a streak of dried blood under it. But fuck it all, he still wants to ride Sherlock.
He throws a leg over.
Sherlock’s hands seize on his knees. “What are you doing? Inadvisable.” And in a quieter voice. “I don’t want to hurt you anymore.”
“How many times have we done it, Sherlock?” John has Sherlock’s cock in hand; he gropes the bottom first, fingering his way up the shaft until he reaches the top where he thumbs at the foreskin until the knot is revealed, already swollen and puffed from his attentions. Then his other hand grabs at the base, his pinkie tangled in the black nest of curls below.
He’s not being remotely fair. He knows it. He likes it.
“I don’t know,” Sherlock whispers, eyes bright lines through his lashes and teeth clenched. “Couldn’t count. Wanted you too much. But by my estimates, at least nineteen.”
“Then we’ll make it at least twenty,” John says, and with a firm grip on Sherlock’s cock, John lifts his hips. He has to spread his knees wide on either side and stretch his cheeks, but when the head of Sherlock’s cock lips against his entrance, they both groan. Holy hell and bloody Christmas. John sickens with greedy addiction, pressing down, waiting for the push and give inside of him, until, yes, fuck there, Sherlock breeches his entrance, and John plunges down on him.
It’s tender, but it doesn’t hurt. Just a twinge here or there only seems to add to absolute shock wave that pikes up John, making him sway so that when Sherlock grabs his wrists, he’s more than happy for the support.
John swims, lingering in the sensation until Sherlock lets go of his wrists, his nails scratching the life lines on John’s palms.
“This is new,” Sherlock says, giving him a lazy, if dazed, smile.
“Is it?” John asks, as he rises up and down again.
“You were too out of it before,” Sherlock says, and he arches up, grabbing John’s hip, helping him to set a rhythm. “Yes, like that.”
“I like—” John gasps. “—seeing you—like this. Face to face.”
“Me, too. Oh, God,” Sherlock’s eyes go skyward. “Let’s get married.”
John marvels at the fact that he doesn’t lose the rhythm—or fall off—or have a heart attack and die. “Sherlock—you can’t just ask that, not like this.” John forces himself to breathe. “Besides, your mother is going to force us to do it anyway.”
“I don’t care about Mummy.” Sherlock runs his hands up John’s thighs. “I want you to say yes to me.”
“You don’t want to be tied down.” John doesn’t know what it says about him that he’s still keeping a perfect up and down rhythm.
“I changed my mind. Say yes.” His hands are on John’s hips again; this time forcing him to go even faster.
John thinks it’s a nasty form of coercion. The best kind of nasty, but still. It’s all he can do to blurt out, “Why?”
“Because—” Sherlock starts, licking at his lips. “—I like you. I like it when you go on cases with me. I think it’s funny how much it annoys Anderson. I like your sense of humour—it’s biting, but not like mine is. I like that. I like—” Sherlock sucks in a sharper breath. “—I like the way you curl up in your sleep, and the way you nibble on your index finger when you’re reading. I love that you read medical journals, and how when I ask you questions, you answer me directly. You don’t give me some shit run-around with extraneous information. I love that you’re worried about controlling me, even though it’s the total opposite. I love the way you physically melt under my voice even though you continue with your little jibes—”
“Sherlock—” John gasps. He’s close, so close.
“I love the way that you smell, and even though that’s boring—you’re an omega, but fuck the bell curve, you’re the best smelling one I’ve ever come across, and I’ve had a few try to rut against me—Mummy sicced them on me, which sorry—no, not that face, John. Just you. Only you. I love it that you only want me. That you sneak glances when you think no one is looking. You love my eyes. Yes, now, like that, look at me.”
John falls forward, grabbing onto Sherlock’s shoulders even as Sherlock tightens his hands on John’s waist. Sherlock’s eyes are pure storm, but then as John keeps staring, they soften, almost shy, even as he gives John the most devil-may-care smile and leans forward to nip at his bottom lip.
John is in the process of kissing him back, of flattening the tip of his tongue against Sherlock’s when Sherlock says, “Legs tights around me,” and then rolls them over.
Sherlock is above him then, and God, his knees must be ravaged but that doesn’t stop him from grabbing the bed rails behind John and driving in.
It takes six (seven?) desperate smacks of flesh, and then Sherlock is grabbing his jaw and staring at John with a feverish intensity as he swells once more inside. This time John is aware of the strain against his walls, of the feeling of being chained and tied, and forced to—John makes his eyes focus on Sherlock as he shakes and tenses and then comes.
It’s quieter after that. The intensity is still a bit frightening. Sherlock trembles every few minutes or so as a new orgasm takes over him. John doesn’t come as often—but God, when he does, it’s out of nowhere and more intense than the last.
When Sherlock is finally able to slide out of him, to give him a final mad kiss, John smiles up at him and says “yes.”
Showered, dressed, bandaged and soothed with three different salves and ointments, John and Sherlock are finally able to sit down for breakfast. John is voraciously hungry, but exasperatingly, feels full after just a few bites.
Sherlock, without seemingly realizing it, is cutting sausage into tiny bits and putting them on John’s plate while simultaneously giving him the update on the world outside.
Jim Moriarty, better known as “The Professor,” is safely locked away in a high security asylum.
David has been arrested and charged. He’s already accepted his sentence, which nicely, puts Harry past the grounds of the divorce statute. Mycroft has alerted him that he’s expediting the process, so that Harry is eight hours from being a free woman.
John smiles as he cracks his egg yolk. “She’ll marry Clara tomorrow, then.”
Sherlock nods. “I believe she, Mummy, and Mrs Hudson are out dress shopping as we speak.”
“Oh,” John’s egg slips off his fork. “Right then.” If he wasn’t such a mess himself at the moment, he’d almost want to go with them. It’s his sister after all, but no, better to rest up if there’s to be an event tomorrow or the next day.
“Also, Mycroft is dating someone.” Sherlock looks oddly annoyed by this.
“That’s great. Who?” John asks.
“Mummy wouldn’t say.” Ah, the true source of the annoyance.
“Not Lestrade again.”
“Mummy wouldn’t have added the smiley face to the text if that were so. She disapproves of Lestrade. She doesn’t think he can make Mycroft happy.”
“Probably not.” John frowns.
“A final bit of news.” Sherlock sets down his knife and fork, and his gaze on John becomes intense. “It’s likely that you’re very pregnant.”
Right. Honeymoon over. John can’t help it. His shoulders sag.
“Do you want to keep it?”
“Do you?” John doesn’t know what to think. It seems unfair to switch topics from fucking to foetuses in the same morning.
Sherlock, however, is unflinchingly calm. “If you do, then yes, I very much want to.”
That gives John pause. “You’ve thought about this.”
Sherlock nods. “There are positives. A grandchild would put Mummy at ease. We might actually have more free time because of it. Also, we’d have help. Besides Mummy’s interference, we could have a Nanny—even a wet nurse if you wanted and—”
“I’m not going to let someone else raise my kid.”
“—that was not my implication. I was just saying that there would be help. Also, there’s the fact that while a fully bonded omega is no longer alpha nectar, an omega with a child goes completely off the radar.”
“Again, more freedom.” John nods.
“And we’d only have to have one, unless you wanted more. We could get proper pills for future heats—and well, then there’s the final fact...” Sherlock looks away.
The man could not look more vulnerable as he says, “Well, the baby would be with you, and I’d like that. I think I’d like your baby—I mean, I’d love our baby.”
John can’t help his doubts. “Sherlock, the hormones...”
“No! Blast the hormones! I told you the reasons before. If you weren’t listening then—I won’t repeat myself.”
John grabs Sherlock’s hand, gripping it in his own. “I’ll think about it, okay?”
They’re married on the following weekend. The wide stone path that lines Lady Holmes’ rose garden becomes the aisle, and the heady scents of Rosemoors and Madame Hyde and Shropshire Lad would be a distraction except that John’s whole being is trained on the man beneath the arbour.
The ceremony is nothing too complicated: a litany of words. Sherlock rolling his eyes constantly (John ends up elbowing him) and then a highly inappropriate kiss at the finale, with hands gripping in scandalous corners.
Later, Lady Holmes snatches him away from the fray and guides him over to a quiet and shaded part of the yard. She offers a small glass of champagne.
“No, thank you.” John scowls at her.
“You haven’t had a glass the whole day.” The woman looks far too pleased.
John’s about to change the subject when a snapping of twigs and hissed “shhh” distract the both of them.
Both he and Lady Holmes peer at the hedge behind them. There’s a thinned section in the foliage, and through it, they can make out Mycroft and Anthea making use of the support of a dried up bird font. Anthea’s short pink dress is being shoved up to—John turns away, face hot.
“Oh, finally.” Lady Holmes crosses her hands in her lap.
“I thought he only liked men.”
“My sons.” Lady Holmes shakes her head in bemusement. “Mycroft likes power, but he’s confused that with gender. Alpha males, really? More importantly, my son likes potential, and Anthea, isn’t she such a dear? She can hit a target in the bull’s-eye even with strong winds at a distance of two hundred meters.”
“She is impressive.” No denying that.
“Exactly. She’s had a crush on him for ages! She cut her hair short and wore those little school boy outfits, but it wasn’t until Mycroft got the footage of her taking down that facility—now, I won’t say that I didn’t doctor the film for some close-ups prior to his viewing—but, anyway, the film pointed out what he’d been blind to. Just because a woman has tits, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have balls.”
“I think they’ll be happy.”
“Yes.” Lady Holmes nods comfortably. “With Mycroft behind her, she’ll be pregnant within the year and prime minister within the next seven.”
John has no idea what to say to this. “I’m sure you’re right, Lady Holmes.”
“Oh, not that! We’re family now. Call me Mummy, too.”
John can’t help but bite his lips.
“Say it, dear.” She grins at him.
He has to stop himself from smiling too much as he says, “Of course. Thank you, Mummy.”
Once again, thank you to the Nixied.
And then, if I haven't completely scandalized you and you happen to want MOOR omegaverse (lemme tell you, it is not that easy to find, oddly), there's the Master List on the kink meme search page and then Cuddlyjumper made a mini-database. Also, on Ao3 you can just click on the alpha/beta/omega dynamics tag. That works too. ;-)